6 Things to Consider when Purchasing Fruit Trees

With the increasing cost of fruit and the overuse of chemicals in some orchards, many people are choosing to “take control” of what they consume by planting their own fruit trees. The low initial cost of a single fruit tree will pay for itself over and over again by providing bushels of fruit over the years, provided the tree is well maintained. Before purchasing your fruit trees, we at Lake Kountry, Inc. have created a list of 6 Things to Consider when Purchasing Fruit Trees:Treeyard

1.) Where are you planning on placing the tree? Make sure your fruit trees will get at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Although fruit trees are adaptable to a wide range of soils, it should be a well-drained site. Soil can be amended at the time of planting to ensure an environment high in organic matter. Fertilizer stakes can also be used to give your trees a “boost” when they need it the most! It is also recommended after planting that the diameter around the tree be mulched to hold moisture and prevent weeds. After all that work, don’t forget to protect the bark from rabbits with a tree protector/wrapping. Fencing may also be required to protect the tree from possible deer damage depending upon your exposure. Our Garden Center has everything you need to be sure your tree grows happy and healthy!

2.) What about your Climate? The survival of a newly planted fruit tree is widely dependent on the climate and zone where you live. Here in northwestern Wisconsin we are in Zone 4, which means that anything Zone 5 or higher will probably not produce an adequate amount of fruit and also may not survive.  The fruit trees that we sell at Lake Kountry, Inc. are hardy in Zones 3 or 4. For example, a Granny Smith Apple or a Bing Cherry tree are recognized as hardy in Zones 5 and above so they would not be a good choice.

3.) Think about spacing. Spacing is yet another item to consider as you contemplate your fruit needs. Typically, dwarf varieties should be placed approximately 15-20’ apart from each other. Standard varieties, if they are not going to be pruned to maintain a smaller stature, should be placed a minimum of 25’ apart. Dwarf trees reach a height of approximately 12’ where a standard is typically around 18’. Since the dwarf trees have a smaller root base in the ground and a wider area above the ground they can sometimes be susceptible to “tipping” and not growing straight if your property has prevailing strong winds. In this case, choosing a standard tree might be a good idea as they have a larger root base which helps to support the tree. By pruning when the tree is dormant (winter months) you can achieve the same effect as the dwarf tree, making harvesting of the fruit easier.

4.) Think about Pollination. In order to get the greatest yield of high quality fruit, pollination issues need to be considered. If you live in a more densely populated area where other properties are in close proximity containing existing fruit trees you already have an “upper hand” with pollination.  Apples and pears require another variety, plums with a few exceptions require ‘Toka’ to pollinate, and cherry, peach and apricot trees are fine all by themselves. Common sense rules that if there are many pollinator plants on your property you will naturally attract more bees, thus rewarding you with a greater yield.

5.) To spray or not to spray? This is a personal decision that should be decided before your tree purchase. We carry organic sprays which are safe and very effective, but the key to spraying lies in the timing so be sure to follow directions EXACTLY – bees can be harmed if done during pollination! There are other products that can also be used such as “sticky traps” – just make sure you wait until after pollination time!  (A simple “old-time” solution is to hang an empty plastic milk jug in your tree with a small amount of molasses on the bottom to catch bugs and make it impossible for them to escape!) Remember, any of these practices must be implemented after the pollination process!!!

6.) Now for that all-important question…what fruit trees do I want? Again, this is a personal decision based on the type of fruit you like and what you’re planning to do with it! Apple trees can be used for fresh eating, pies, sauces and baking so it is also important to consider storage life when choosing apple varieties. The most sought-after newer varieties right now include Frostbite, Honeycrisp, Snowsweet and Zestar.  Our newest one is KinderKrisp – many of the same great qualities of Honeycrisp and the other U of M introductions, but with this one you may see a good amount of fruit the 2nd year! Most of the other apples are typically 3-5 years with dwarf varieties producing slightly soon than standards. Many of the older varieties remain a staple here at the nursery including Connell Red, Cortland, Fireside, Haralson, McIntosh, State Fair and Sweet Sixteen to name just a few. Plum, Cherry, Apricot, Peach and Pear trees are generally eaten fresh, but can also be made into jam/jelly or dried. We have provided a chart below to help you find the type and variety of fruit tree you want.

Click on the Link Below to View Chart of Fruit Varieties and Their Uses:

2017 Fruit Chart

We’re ready to help make your “fruit dreams” a reality! We’ll literally “walk” you through the process of purchasing the perfect trees and promise to send you home with everything you’ll need to be successful! Remember that our trees are guaranteed for one full year so you have nothing to lose and everything to gain!